With one historic heave, Dylan Armstrong erased generations of frustration for Canadians in track and field throwing events, earning a shot-put silver medal at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and making an also-ran nation a medal favourite in the event for next summer’s Olympic Games in London.
“It gives you a boost, knowing you can get on the podium,” said the 30-year-old Armstrong, of Kamloops, after taking silver with a fourth-round throw of 21.64 metres. It’s Canada’s first world medal in an event that was historically steroid-scarred. (World record holder Randy Barnes of the United States tested positive twice, and performance levels have dropped dramatically since drug testing became more stringent.)
Armstrong was overtaken on the final throw by 21-year-old David Storl of Germany, with a throw of 21.78. Third at 21.40 was Olympic bronze winner Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus.
“It can be done with hard work,” Armstrong said. “It will get more kids involved with the right coaching and people. The event is becoming more positive in itself.”
The silver, Canada’s first medal at these worlds, came on a day when Canada also won a pair of world championship rowing medals – silver in the women’s eight and bronze in the men’s coxed pair – at Bled, Slovenia. In paddling Olympic test events on the Eton course, Mark Oldershaw of Burlington, Ont., won gold in the C-1 1,000 metres, and world champion Adam van Koeverden of Oakville, Ont., added silver in the 1,000-metre kayak race.
“It’s a good set-up going into London,” the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Armstrong said. The 2011 shot-put leader at 22.21 metres and elite Diamond League leader has seven more events this season, then prepares for the March world indoor championships.
“I am going to keep listening to my coach,” Armstrong said of Anatoly Bondarchuk, former Soviet Olympic hammer gold medalist and throwing expert. “He’s an absolute genius, very smart in periodization and programming. He’s one of a kind. I won’t take time off. I have to train tomorrow, and the objective is a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.”
In other highlights at Daegu, the athlete known as The Blade Runner, South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, said in a Twitter message he felt “pretty guttered” at being left off the final quartet in the 4 x 400-metre relay, but still goes home with a silver for running in preliminaries. The United States won the relay final.
Dwight Phillips of the United States won his fourth long jump world crown. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ran 20.31 to qualify easily for the 200-metre final, and South African Caster Semenya ran 1 minute 58.07 seconds to get to the women’s 800 final.
Canada’s 4 x 400-metre relay team of Adrienne Power of Halifax, Esther Akinsulie of Ottawa, Jenna Martin of Bridgewater, N.S., and Lemlem Ogbaselassie of Montreal ran 3:27.92 but did not advance to the final. Neither did 200-metre sprinters Bryan Barnett of Edmonton (20.75) and Jared Connaughton of New Haven, PEI (20.80). Heather Steacy of Lethbridge, Alta., did not advance in the women’s hammer throw (63.39 metres).
In earning a silver medal, the Canadian women’s rowing eight ensured an Olympic berth. The U.S. world and Olympic champs won in 6:03.65, with Canada less than a second behind.
The women’s eight is Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Ont., Andréanne Morin of Montreal, Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C., Ashley Brzozowicz of London, Ont., Krista Guloien of Port Moody, B.C., Rachelle Viinberg of Regina, Natalie Mastracci of Thorold, Ont., Cristy Nurse of Georgetown, Ont., and Janine Hanson of Winnipeg. The Canadian men’s coxed pair – a non-Olympic event – was third behind Italy and Australia. It was coxswain Brian Price’s second medal of the regatta, calling the cadence for Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C., and Steven van Knotsenburg of Beamsville, Ont. Price won a bronze with the men’s eight.
The men’s coxless pair – Olympic silver and 2011 Lucerne World Cup bronze medalists David Calder of Victoria and Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C. – advanced to the final and earned an Olympic berth as one of the top 11 boats in the race.Report Typo/Error
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